Don't overlook that defense.
The unit that got the biggest overhaul in the offseason will be under close scrutiny when the Bengals hold their first training camp practice Saturday in Georgetown, Ky. During coach Marvin Lewis' three seasons in Cincinnati, the defense has been a drag.
Finally, that might be changing.
“I'm excited about where we are across the board,” Lewis said.
Cincinnati's two biggest offseason acquisitions were on defense. Safety Dexter Jackson and tackle Sam Adams signed as free agents, looking to help the Bengals take that next step to the ranks of annual playoff contenders.
Last season, the Bengals made their first playoff appearance in 15 years, a breakthrough season built primarily upon the offense's success. Palmer emerged as one of the NFL's top passers before he tore up his left knee during a 31-17 playoff loss to Pittsburgh.
On the other side of the equation, things were grim.
The defense finished 28th in yards allowed, and that wasn't a statistical aberration. The Bengals had the lowest-ranked defense in the playoffs and gave up an average of 30 points over the last eight games.